By: Some Guy
Of all the senses the sportsman uses, sight, hearing, touch, just to name a few, I believe a general sense of awareness is the most important. Some of the worst possible situations you can find yourself in are due to a lack of awareness. You end saying something like, “Gee, I wasn’t aware of that!” Finding out you weren’t aware of something after the fact doesn’t do us any good. The sportsman needs the type of awareness that can ward off impending peril. It seems like most of the time we just have “retroactive awareness”.
A common example of retroactive awareness is you are hiking through the woods and you have to go poop. You are aware this situation probably isn’t going to turn out so well because you can’t hold it long enough to get back to your pickup and you don’t have any toilet paper with you. You go ahead and find a nice log to sit over and go. The nice soft looking leaves on the vine next to you look attractive to use to wipe with. But you are aware that poison ivy vines grow in this area, so you don’t use them. The leaves on that happy little bush will work just fine.
The next day while you are bent forward over the table, Dr. Payne tells you, “Mr. Jackball these blisters were caused by poison ivy.” “You know you really should carry some toilet paper with you if you are going to keep doing this sort of thing in the woods.” Of course you are now already aware of this, but it doesn’t do you any good right now. You are thinking, “Poison ivy, really, but I used the leaves from that happy little bush, not poison ivy!”
By the next day the blisters have spread. They now cover about 80% of your cheeks and extend about 4” up inside your colon. By now you are aware of the fact that poison ivy will also grow as a bush, not just as a vine. This newly gained knowledge does you no good now either. You’re thinking to yourself “Gee, I wish I was aware of that two days ago” as you are using the eraser end of a pencil to push salve up your backside. But the pencil is still more comfortable then Dr. Payne’s flashlight.
The presence of blood is a great tool used to expose the absence of awareness. Blunt trauma works well also. A combination of the two is better yet! A flat tire one time proved this fact to me. My old friend Bubba Greasly and I were on a fishing trip one time when this “lack of awareness revealing” tire reared its ugly head.
The lane to the pond we were going to fish led through an abandoned farmstead. Bubba pulled into the lane and I got out and opened the gate. When I got back in I said, “Hey, you might want to watch where you are going.” “These sorts of places have all kinds of stuff buried in the weeds that can pop a tire.” Bubba replied, “Yeah, I’m aware of that.” We barely made it through the gate when the tire went flat.
Bubba said, “Why don’t you get the spare out while I take off the flat?” “We’ll have this done in no time!” Like many pickups the spare was stored under the back of the bed, held in place with a letdown cable. And also like many pickups the letdown cable doesn’t really let down anything. Dirt and rust will build up and fuse the spare to the bottom of the bed. Most pickup drivers are aware of this, but not aware enough I guess to lower the spare from time to time and clean out the buildup. Most of us seem to prefer the technique I used. I went over to the abandoned buildings and came back with an old fence post.
As I was beating the spare senseless with the fence post Bubba asked, “What the heck are you doing to my truck?” “I’m just trying to get the spare out Bubba!” “Aren’t you aware these things will stick up if you don’t tend them?” “Yeah I guess so, just never give it much thought til now though.” I have found out over the years that Bubba did this sort of thing a lot, the whole “not much thought” thing. He said, “Well hurry up, I already got the flat off!” Just as the spare broke loose we became aware of the fact that blocking a tire even on flat ground is a good idea.
It was at this time that Bubba became aware that a jack spitting out from under a pickup has the equal force as a mule’s kick. After awhile, when Bubba had stopped thrashing around on the ground crying and vomiting, and when he was able to stand upright and speak normally again, he told me so. While my friend was busy doing these things I became aware that one is never too old or fat to curl up in the fetal position and enjoy a good cry. And to think, women claim men never display their emotions! I’ll bet if Bubba’s wife saw this display of emotion she would be glad he did it there in the gravel and weeds with that flat tire instead of on the couch with her.
After we got the truck back onto the jack I became aware of a few other things. These were all retroactive awareness’s, as I didn’t know any of these things before. A friend with a crushed and bloody hand, and with a severe groin injury isn’t much help with a flat tire, I am aware now though that the doubled over like a question mark, on your knees pose one generally takes after a blow to the groin makes it easier to spot lost lug nuts in the weeds. After Bubba found enough of the nuts to “get us by” I became aware of something else. Lug nuts are very hard to turn onto vomit encrusted posts, and you don’t really need all five.
A better sense of awareness would save the sportsman from financial loss along with less physical harm. I saw a fellow ruin a brand new $400 power ice auger one time because he “wasn’t aware” of something. I was fishing a gravel pit when this “unaware” fellow showed up. He came out onto the ice carrying his brand new auger. He was strutting around with his chest all puffed up with pride, cackling like a bantam rooster!
He came over to where I was to show it off and brag. He said he just wanted to see if I was having any luck, but I had a new ice auger one time, I knew he was just on a gloating mission. I’m fine with a good gloat once in awhile, but just tell it what it is. The auger was kind of impressive! It had a huge engine on it. It looked like it could cut through the 24” of ice in about ten seconds. As it turns out it took about five! I wasn’t catching anything here so this fellow decided to try a different spot. I went back to staring at my motionless bobber.
Shortly I could hear the fellow trying to start his brand new auger. I looked up and saw where his “different spot” was. I was familiar with this pond and knew he was going to drill into very shallow water. Just as I started to yell out a warning the auger fired up. The engine roared like a jet engine! The ice was flying everywhere, high into the air and across the ice!
As soon as the auger broke through the ice, gravel, rocks, pieces of auger, and angler were flying everywhere, high into the air and across the ice! As the unaware fellow slid past me on the ice I asked him, “Hey buddy, you O.K.?” He replied, “Yeah I think I am.” “Gee, I wasn’t aware it was that shallow over there!” “Dam, that thing kicks like a mule when it hits rocks”, he said as he assumed the fetal position to start displaying emotion!
I believe trying to find a better sense of awareness for the sportsman is futile. Mankind’s inborn tendency towards retroactive awareness is something that cannot be overcome. When it comes to the sporting world, super natural forces will allow stupidity to trump knowledge most of the time! I’ll bet you weren’t aware of this, were you?